I have been involved in politics for the better part of my life. I understand that politicians in their search for votes need to appeal to the electorate, and more often than not make promises that once in office they cannot for many reasons fulfill, or worse yet, they choose not to fulfill.
Most of the electorate knows that and as generous as they are, they seldom hold the politicians accountable. It is a sad tale: this cycle repeats itself over and over again.
An example of this problem is the current scandal-ridden White House. President Obama upon taking office said: “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing.” Yet, his administration has taken pains to ensure that the public does not know what the government is doing or even how it is doing it.
[President Obama] is counting on a bottomless reservoir of goodwill from a generous America, but that well is drying up with every new disclosure.
- Rosario Marin
A number of important congressional investigations are now taking place both by the Senate and the House only to be met by officials who will not cooperate, have forgotten, do not recall, or simply invoke the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, while at the same time swearing under oath that they have done nothing wrong. Ugh? How is that for transparency?
What about the painfully comical oxymoronic stand that our esteemed Attorney General found himself in holding an off-the-record meeting with media people to talk about Freedom of the Press, and then “allowing” those attending to say only that the Attorney General does in fact support the First Amendment? This meeting was in fact necessary to quell the firestorm that ensued when it was revealed that he misled Congress regarding his involvement in securing a subpoena concerning a Fox News reporter, since in fact the Attorney General himself approved a search warrant identifying him as a potential co-conspirator in an espionage case.
To make matters worse, in a follow-up this week, the White House held another off-the-record meeting with media people. It was supposed to be with the chief of staff but, surprise! none other than the President himself showed up at the meeting. Things must be getting so out of hand that the Queller-in-Chief must attempt to appease an otherwise tame press corps.
It gives me no pleasure to write about the scandals at the White House. I don’t find it funny to be dealing with one scandal after another. It just seems like every other day another scandal breaks. For a president who promised transparency, he has fallen way short. Long time ago I learned that trust, like integrity, is easier kept than recovered.
The American people are a forgiving bunch; they try very hard to give people the benefit of the doubt, and want to believe that the leaders they chose to do well by them, in fact do. So the president knows this and is counting on a bottomless reservoir of goodwill from a generous America, but that well is drying up with every new disclosure of a government accountable to no one. It is beginning to frighten even the President’s most ardent supporters.
Rosario Marin served as the 41st U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush. She is the author of "Leading Between Two Worlds Lessons" from the first Mexican-born Treasurer of the United States.